New XBox 360?

New XBox 360?

There are currently lots of rumours that Microsoft’s Natal will release Fall 2010. Not only that, but several sources are talking about a new more powerful Xbox console bundled with Natal.

What does this mean?

This doesn’t mean Xbox 720 or a “next gen” console, but instead it is likely to be an incremental update that adds additional features or capability. This is my take on the likely features of an updated 360:

  • Larger hard drive as standard – the Natal platform won’t replace the existing 360, but I do expect all variants to feature a hard drive and this is likely to be in the order of 500GB.
  • Wireless as standard – adding wireless probably costs less than $5 and would remove any PS3 advantage
  • Blu Ray drive – I don’t expect Microsoft to fit a Blu Ray drive, but it would make a lot of sense
  • Improved Graphics – I hear rumours of a higher powered 360, which I am not sure I believe. The Natal device itself does have significant processing power in order to process facial and voice recognition. Potentially therefore this new console could do things that the current version can’t, but it splits the platform, which just doesn’t sound plausible.
  • Backwards compatibility – If the console does have games that take advantage of new horsepower or RAM will this mean two versions of 360 games. If that’s the case I would expect Natal to be able to run all existing 360 games. Perhaps the same disc will detect which 360 you have and run the appropriate graphics.

Most likely outcome

Microsoft will release Natal and a 360/Natal bundle next year. The 360 component is likely to stay the same and there will be Natal specific games. There may be some minor revisions, e.g. extra on board RAM and bigger hard drives, but major additional performance from the console is unlikely. Microsoft have come out and publicly rubbished talk of a more powerful console, whereas they usually don’t comment. Do I want more power? Of course I do.

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